EF9 SHOW NOTES
Looking to play or download the episode? Click here…(EF9) S1-E7: I Feel Therefore I am: Capsized by the River Emotion (Season One, Episode Seven)
Can Rationality and Emotions Coexist?
The big question driving Episode EF9 is … Can rationality and emotions coexist? We tend to put people (and ourselves) into two groups: people who are rational, and people who are emotional. So what should you strive being? A rational or emotional person? Rationality is usually more encouraged as too many emotions can blur your mind. But is it that simple?
Emotions motivate even the most rational people. Thus, shutting down one side is like riding a bike with one leg. Although feelings and rationale do come in conflict — with your mind being the arena for the great fight — we need cohesion and acceptance of their collaborative value rather than picking sides in the fight. Only you can know the key to your personal cohesion and harmony. And how can you know anything without experiencing the conflict first?
DEDICATION: Episode EF9 is dedicated to William James, the so-called Father of American Psychology whose prolific work in the field of psychology was the result of, at least in part, his own personal emotional struggles. James hard work on untangling the emotional knot further helped us realize how much influence emotions have on our decisions. Emotions can cause chaos, but also greatness; sometimes, the value of the emotional ride is greater than the truth itself.
James began as a physician and later entered a medical school. After graduating, he suddenly decided not to pursue a career in medicine. Instead, he became a lecturer, initially of physiology and later moving to psychology. Already in his late forties, James published The Principles of Psychology and a decade later another great work, The Varieties of Religious Experience.
The road to William James becoming a name almost synonymous with American Psychology was likely not a pleasant one. Having constant troubles with illness and depression, it’s a small miracle that James managed to provide so much incredible work. Or perhaps it is because of those struggles and not in spite of them?
HOW WILLIAM JAMES INSPIRES EF9
Episode EF9’s protagonist isn’t a scientist like James. But careful listeners might find the connection between an unstable emotional state and the hardship of flowing against the stream, as this is s
James left behind important cornerstone work for the development of American psychology. Make sure to check out his
- The Varieties Of Religious Experience: A Study In Human Nature, (1902).
- The Principles of Psychology, (1890).
- The Will to Believe, (1890).
- Video Lecture on James’ concept of the Sick Soul
INSPIRATIONS: Carl Jung, one of the first scientists who managed to transfer Eastern ideas to Western society, who was also known for experimenting on himself to discover more about the world. David Hume, a famous philosopher who discovered the slave/slave owner relationship between us and emotions. Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist whose contributions helped us realize the “cold” factual side of emotions and why we have them. Episode EF9 was further inspired by Charles Stevenson, Paul Ekman, Klaus Rainer Scherer, René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes. For a full list of data and references please see Episode EF9 Show Notes.
Episode EF9 Summary
Elliott made a terrible mistake that’s been haunting him ever since. As if rafting through Class V rapids without a paddle, Elliott’s sanity is inches away from crashing into sharp rocks of guilt, shame and sadness. Where do we turn when it feels like our emotions have us hurtling out of control in dangerous waters? And is there any hope for recovery even once you’ve faced the reality of your situation head-on, in light of the power of these emotional currents?
We all have emotions, but what are they and do we need them? David Hume felt we are nothing more than slaves to our passions. And maybe so! Countless theories like the Hurrah/Boo Theory show that we’ll jump onto the emotional bandwagon of the masses almost instinctively. Why? To feel safe. But is there a way to break the secure chains of emotions? Is there a way to rationalize the irrational, reason the unreasonable and be ultimately be masters of our feelings?
“Emotion and Decision”, last viewed January 8, 2017, http://changingminds.org/explanations/emotions/emotion_decision.htm
Charles Stevenson, Ethics and Language, Yale University Press, 1960.
David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, edited by David Fate Norton and Mary J. Norton, Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2000
William James, The Will to Believe, Kindle Edition, 2010.
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